As this is Dav’s first visit to Africa, going to a safari is definitely a MUST in our itinerary. Kruger National Park is the biggest and most diverse game viewing in South Africa. No doubt then this will be the most ideal place for us to visit if we want to see wild animals.
Besides going to Kruger, a friend who’s been to South Africa also highly recommends that we visit a private game lodge next to Kruger. So we decided to swing by and stay a night in this game lodge.
Below are the highlights of our safari experience.
When we arrived at this private game lodge we did not know what to expect. We knew that we will be able to go for a morning walk with cheetahs, that’s it. So while getting there, all we were excited about was the cheetahs. But we were so wrong!
Firstly the rates for one night was all inclusive (dinner, breakfast, game drives & morning walks). The only thing we had to pay extra was for the drinks. When we arrived, we were assigned a ranger. Our ranger would looked after us for the whole duration of our stay. This mean he/she will try to fulfill any of our request, escort us to dinner and breakfast AND he/she will also be our ranger while on game drive and morning walk.
As we arrived slightly earlier than expected, we managed to join in the sunset game drive and we had so much fun! We managed to spend some time with the resident cheetahs (4 of them), witnessed a strange fight between the cheetahs & giraffe and then the cheetahs and the elephants. Besides that, we also met the resident wild boar.
The next day, after our morning walk with the cheetahs, we also got to meet 2 orphaned lions cubs (5 months & 2 weeks old), wild cats and caracals. Who would have thought we will get a chance to play with these animals !!! It was simply an amazing experience! We wished we had stayed longer but it was quite an expensive stay. We would definition recommend this place to visitors going to South Africa.
Kruger National Park
According to Lonely Planet, Kruger consists of an area the size of Wales hence it has 9 gates and 21 rest camps. Therefore we allocated 4 days and 3 nights for Kruger to maximise our time for game viewing and also to get us from the Southern Crocodile Bridge Gate to the Northern Pafuri Gate.
While in the park, all we did was drive from one rest camp to another at max speed of 40km/hour while trying to spot any kind of animals we can see. The main task was to spot the Big 5 – elephants, lions, buffalos, leopard and rhinos. We had to rush when we ran out of time especially after lunch because the gates at the rest camps opens and closes at a certain time. Even the park gates has opening and closing time. So we had to be very careful and planned our daily road trip properly.
Besides driving around the park ourselves, we also managed to join a few sunset drives (game viewing at night) and one morning walk (game viewing on foot in the morning). We should have arranged more game viewing but we thought we should be able to see most animals while on the road. But definitely next time, if we were to go back, we will arrange more game drives with the rest camp. The reason is because the rangers knows where the animals are resting and also they have the eye in spotting animals. It is actually very hard to spot an animal in the bush or grassland because they then to blend into the surroundings. With an untrained eye, it is difficult to see the difference.
We managed to see about 35 animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds). This exclude plants and animals which we cannot recognised. We tried very hard to find all of the Big 5 and was very unfortunate not to find the leopards. On our second last day in the park, we still didnt see any lions, until we went on a sunset drive. At first we only saw an injured male lion. Then later on the ranger was informed that there’s a lion family roaming around the same area and off we went to find them. We were so lucky when we found them. It was a lion family which has 6 little cubs walking around. The lion cubs were soooo cute!
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